Explore the most impactful and insightful quotes and sayings by Paul Theroux, and enrich your perspective with the wisdom. Share these inspiring Paul Theroux quotes pictures with your friends on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blogs, completely free. Here are the top 288 Paul Theroux quotes for you to read and share.

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One of the upsides of tourism is that people begin to take themselves a little more seriously (and think their) culture is worth something. So rather than disparaging the local culture, they vitalize it. -- Paul Theroux
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His education was sketchy, yet he was immensely learned in the oblique and selective way of someone self-taught. -- Paul Theroux
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The disorder in Yashar's apartment was that comfortable littering and stacking that only another writer can recognize as order - the considered scatter of papers and books a writer builds around himself until it acquires the cozy solidity of a nest. -- Paul Theroux
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Many small towns I know in Maine are as tight-knit and interdependent as those I associate with rural communities in India or China; with deep roots and old loyalties, skeptical of authority, they are proud and inflexibly territorial. -- Paul Theroux
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I have always felt that the truth is prophetic, and that if you describe precisely what you see and give it life with your imagination, then what you write ought to have lasting value, no matter what the mood of your prose. -- Paul Theroux
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I was raised in a large family. The first reason for my travel was to get away from my family. I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't want people to ask me questions about it. -- Paul Theroux
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The dubious achievement in travel these days is enduring the persistent nuisance of a succession of airports in order to arrive at a distant place for a brief interlude of the exotic, -- Paul Theroux
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Mimicry reassures the weak, and the envious fool takes the risk as often as the visionary who mocks the error and leave the man alone. -- Paul Theroux
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Time is a factor in travel, one of the most crucial. -- Paul Theroux
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The religious belief varies from village to village. Nearly all worship the cholera and smallpox deities, and there are traces of serpent worship. -- Paul Theroux
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I think I am typical in believing that the Peace Corps trained us brilliantly and then did little more except send us into the bush. It was not a bad way of running things. -- Paul Theroux
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I have always disliked being a man. The whole idea of manhood in America is pitiful, in my opinion. This version of masculinity is a little like having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one's entire life (by contrast, I imagine femininity to be an oppressive sense of nakedness). -- Paul Theroux
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We all know that a vast proportion of travel is accumulated nuisance; but if boredom or awfulness is handled with skill and concrete detail, it is funnier and truer than the sunniest prose. -- Paul Theroux
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Every country has the writers she requires and deserves, which is why Nicaragua, in two hundred years of literacy, has produced one writer-a mediocre poet. -- Paul Theroux
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The greatest justification for travel is not self-improvement but rather performing a vanishing act, disappearing without a trace. -- Paul Theroux
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Going slowly [ ... ] was the best way of being reminded that there is a relationship between Here and There, and that travel narrative was the story of There and Back. -- Paul Theroux
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The topography of literature, the fact in fiction,is one of my pleasures
I mean, where the living road enters the pages of a book, and you are able to stroll along both the real and imagined road. -- Paul Theroux
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Really there was no deadlier combination than bookworm and megalomaniac. It was, for example, the crazed condition of many novelists and travelers. -- Paul Theroux
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Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? "She drove me to my practice at four in the morning," etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home. -- Paul Theroux
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Maine out of season is unmistakably a great destination: hospitable, good-humored, plenty of elbow room, short days, dark nights of crackling ice crystals. -- Paul Theroux
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I do not want to be young again. -- Paul Theroux
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Is there any point in going across the world to eat something or buy something or watch people squatting among their ruins? Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with distance or the exotic. It is almost entirely an inner experience. -- Paul Theroux
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A British traveler remarked, 'There are [fashions in Guatemala] which it would require more than common charity to speak of with respect ... '
FILL IN YOUR OWN GRIPES! ;-) -- Paul Theroux
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And then there are the laziest and most presumptuous of people, those who can read but who don't bother, who live in the smuggest ignorance and seem to me dangerous. -- Paul Theroux
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Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night's sleep, and strangers' monologues framed like Russian short stories. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel has always been my way of defeating this sinking feeling, partly because travel is a form of escape, and travel itself - the elemental farewell - becomes the fugitive fantasy of a new life, travel inspiring a sense of hope. I -- Paul Theroux
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Pain does not create a long-lasting memory, but the memory of luxury exerts itself for ever. -- Paul Theroux
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When I'm writing, I like to travel alone. If you really want to find out about a place, you need to be as free as possible to be spontaneous. You also need to be lonely, because loneliness is a great teacher, too. -- Paul Theroux
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In the best travel books the word alone is implied on every exciting page, as subtle and ineradicable as a watermark. -- Paul Theroux
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The monotony of staying in one place is the best thing for writing a novel. Having regular habits, a kind of security, but especially no big surprises, no shocks. -- Paul Theroux
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I don't think I've ever seen a person having a serious conversation on a cellphone. It's like a kiddie thing, a complete time waster. -- Paul Theroux
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My house is a place I have spent many years improving to the point where I have no desire to leave it. -- Paul Theroux
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I have written stories, essays, even whole books on trains, scribble-scribble. -- Paul Theroux
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Friendship is also about liking a person for their failings, their weakness. It's also about mutual help, not about exploitation. -- Paul Theroux
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Maine is a joy in the summer. But the soul of Maine is more apparent in the winter. -- Paul Theroux
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In Turkey it was always 1952, in Malaysia 1937; Afghanistan was 1910 and Bolivia 1949. It is 20 years ago in the Soviet Union, 10 in Norway, five in France. It is always last year in Australia and next week in Japan. -- Paul Theroux
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A gun show is about like-minded people who feel as if everything has been taken away from them - jobs, money, pride. -- Paul Theroux
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You need to be on your own so that you can meet people as you are, and as they are. -- Paul Theroux
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To a lot of Africans, seeing an animal is a something of a rarity. So it's a paradox of this sort of parallel life. A safari is an expensive experience and it's adjacent to a place where people are having a very tough time. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience. -- Paul Theroux
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Indian enterprises seemed to work so well they produced disasters; success made them burst at the seams and the disruption of unprecedented orders led to shortages and finally failure. -- Paul Theroux
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Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it. -- Paul Theroux
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I greatly enjoyed Tom Reiss's The Orientalist, for its mingled scholarship and sleuthing, and for so elegantly solving the puzzle of one of the Twentieth Century's most mysterious writers. -- Paul Theroux
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just a short trip to any French territory in the Pacific is enough to convince even the most casual observer that the French are among the most self-serving, manipulative, trivial-minded, obnoxious, cynical, and corrupting nations on the face of the earth. -- Paul Theroux
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The people of Hong Kong are criticized for only being interested in business, but it's the only thing they've been allowed to do. -- Paul Theroux
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The two impulses in travel are to get away from home, and the other is to pursue something - a landscape, people, an exotic place. Certainly finding a place that you like or discovering something unusual is a very sustaining thing in travel. -- Paul Theroux
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Reading is also a journey. It's a process of discovery. -- Paul Theroux
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The happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance is not the works of Shakespeare (as Buck Mulligan says) but the Holy Bible. -- Paul Theroux
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I guessed it was a migratory bird, too innocent to be wary of the spiders in the jungle grass. It worried be to think that we were a little like that bird -- Paul Theroux
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The pleasure a reader gets is often equal to the pleasure a writer is given. -- Paul Theroux
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The place that interests me most, actually, is the United States. I've realized that I haven't traveled much in the States. There's a lot to see. -- Paul Theroux
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The realization that he is white in a black country, and respected for it, is the turning point in the expatriate's career. He can either forget it, or capitalize on it. Most choose the latter. -- Paul Theroux
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You go away for a long time and return a different person - you never come all the way back. -- Paul Theroux
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A journey awakens all our old fears of danger and risk. Your life is on the line. You are living by your own resources; you have to find your own way and solve every problem on the road. -- Paul Theroux
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There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment. -- Paul Theroux
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The three biggest funerals in Alabama history define the state's contending loyalties, I was told: George Wallace's, Martin Luther King's, and Bear Bryant's. -- Paul Theroux
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Death is an endless night so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art. -- Paul Theroux
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The amount of hassle involved in travel can be overwhelming. -- Paul Theroux
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You must not judge people by their country. In South America, it is always wise to judge people by their altitude. -- Paul Theroux
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The Australian Book of Etiquette is a very slim volume. -- Paul Theroux
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My father had an invisible job outside of the house; I didn't know what he did. But my kids were privy to the ups and downs of a writer's life. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is glamorous only in retrospect. -- Paul Theroux
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One thing about cold weather: it brings out the statistician in everyone. -- Paul Theroux
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The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.. -- Paul Theroux
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I have spent my life on the road waking in a pleasant, or not so pleasant hotel, and setting off every morning after breakfast hoping to discover something new and repeatable, something worth writing about. -- Paul Theroux
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Fiction gives us the second chances that life denies us. -- Paul Theroux
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Basically, what you find out is the limits of your patience and your strength and your capacity to adapt. You find that out in travel and being alone and being tested. So that's a great thing. -- Paul Theroux
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Literary life used to be quite different in Britain in the years I lived there, from 1971 to 1989, because money was not a factor - no one made very much except from U.S. sales and the occasional windfall. -- Paul Theroux
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Writing was in my mind from the time I was in high school, but more, the idea that I would be a doctor. I really wanted to be a medical doctor, and I had various schemes: one was to be a psychiatrist, another was tropical medicine. -- Paul Theroux
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He regarded himself as an accomplished writer - a clear sign of madness in anyone. -- Paul Theroux
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Japan, Germany, and India seem to me to have serious writers, readers, and book buyers, but the Netherlands has struck me as the most robust literary culture in the world. -- Paul Theroux
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Winter is a season of recovery and preparation. -- Paul Theroux
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You think of travellers as bold, but our guilty secret is that travel is one of the laziest ways on earth of passing the time. -- Paul Theroux
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Solitary people make the best travellers -- Paul Theroux
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The idea of traveling in Africa for me is based on going by road or train or bus or whatever and crossing borders. You can't travel easily or at all through some countries. -- Paul Theroux
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A train journey is travel; everything else - planes especially - is transfer, your journey beginning when the plane lands. - GRB -- Paul Theroux
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The Peace Corps is a sort of Howard Johnson's on the main drag into maturity. -- Paul Theroux
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The worst thing that can happen to you in travel is having a gun pointed at you by a very young person. That's happened to me maybe four times in my life. I didn't like it. -- Paul Theroux
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Nyasaland was the perfect country for a volunteer. It was friendly and destitute; it was small and out-of-the-way. It had all of Africa's problems - poverty, ignorance, disease. -- Paul Theroux
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The Trans-Siberian Express is like a cruise across an oceanic landscape. I've done it three times. -- Paul Theroux
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Eating together is an occasion that humans have made into a peacemaking ritual; -- Paul Theroux
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Fiction gives us the second chance that life denies us. -- Paul Theroux
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There's books that are about places we will never go, and then there's books that inspire us to go. -- Paul Theroux
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You may not know it but I'm no good at coping with all the attention in the luxury hotels I sometimes find myself in. -- Paul Theroux
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was happiest finding my own way and did not require a liaison man. It had been my intention to stay on the train, without bothering about arriving anywhere; sightseeing -- Paul Theroux
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The conversation, like many others I had with people on trains, derived an easy candour from the shared journey, the comfort of the dining car, and the certain knowledge that neither of us would see each other again. -- Paul Theroux
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The impulse to write comes, I think, from a desire - perhaps a need - to give imaginative life to experience, to share it with the reader, not to cover up the truth but to deliver it obliquely. -- Paul Theroux
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The past wasn't dead, nor past. She herself was black, and was explaining the demographic of the Black Belt today by referring to slavery, still a visitable memory because of the persistence of its effects. -- Paul Theroux
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Reading alters the appearance of a book. Once it has been read, it never looks the same again, and people leave their individual imprint on a book they have read. Once of the pleasures of reading is seeing this alteration on the pages, and the way, by reading it, you have made the book yours. -- Paul Theroux
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Sometimes people read a book in order to not go on a trip. You read a book instead of going on the trip. And so the travel writer is doing the traveling for you. -- Paul Theroux
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When I went to Hong Kong, I knew at once I wanted to write a story set there. -- Paul Theroux
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Television cannot film corruption. Television cannot spend five days on a rattling railway train, talking endlessly. Television needs excitement, it needs an angle, it needs a 'sound bite. -- Paul Theroux
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The Japanese have perfected good manners and made them indistinguishable from rudeness. -- Paul Theroux
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Writing is pretty crummy on the nerves. -- Paul Theroux
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Painters strike me as having warm uncomplicated friendships and probably more natural generosity than the practitioners of any other art. Perhaps this is because painting is such a portable, flexible thing. -- Paul Theroux
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I think that love isn't what you think it is when you're in your twenties or even thirties. -- Paul Theroux
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What strikes me about high-school reunions is the realization that these are people one has known one's whole life. -- Paul Theroux
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Banks and donors and charities claimed to have had successes in Mozambique. I suspected they invented these successes to justify their existence. -- Paul Theroux
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One of the things the 'Tao of Travel' shows is how unforthcoming most travel writers are, how most travelers are. They don't tell you who they were traveling with, and they're not very reliable about things that happened to them. -- Paul Theroux
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When I was in the Peace Corps I never made a phone call. I was in Central Africa; I didn't make a phone call for two years. I was in Uganda for another four years and I didn't make a phone call. So for six years I didn't make a phone call, but I wrote letters, I wrote short stories, I wrote books. -- Paul Theroux
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A slow feeling of gathering sadness as each familiar place flashes by the window and disappears and becomes part of the past. Time is made visible, and it moves as the landscape moves. -- Paul Theroux
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They say that if the Swiss had designed these mountains they'd be rather flatter. -- Paul Theroux
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All travel is circular. I had been jerked through Asia, making a parabola on one of the planet's hemispheres. After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man's way of heading home. -- Paul Theroux
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The traveler's boast, sometimes couched as a complaint, is that of having been an eyewitness, and invariably this experience - shocking though it may seem at the time - is an enrichment, even a blessing, one of the life-altering trophies of the road. -- Paul Theroux
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There is no faster way of destroying a man, or mocking his ideas, than making him fashionable. -- Paul Theroux
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Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Albert Camus, Graham Greene - they influenced my life to a profound extent. -- Paul Theroux
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Everything is fiction. You only have your own life to work with in the way that a biographer only has the letters and journals to work with. -- Paul Theroux
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That was my Malawian epiphany. Only Africans were capable of making a difference in Africa. All the others, donors and volunteers and bankers, however idealistic, were simply agents of subversion. -- Paul Theroux
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I think most serious and omnivorous readers are alike- intense in their dedication to the word, quiet-minded, but relieved and eagerly talkative when they meet other readers and kindred spirits. -- Paul Theroux
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In countries where all the crooked politicians wear pin-striped suits, the best people are bare-assed. -- Paul Theroux
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I can't predict how reading habits will change. But I will say that the greatest loss is the paper archive - no more a great stack of manuscripts, letters, and notebooks from a writer's life, but only a tiny pile of disks, little plastic cookies where once were calligraphic marvels. -- Paul Theroux
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A novel captures essence that is not possible in any other form. -- Paul Theroux
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You define a good flight by negatives: you didn't get hijacked, you didn't crash, you didn't throw up, you weren't late, you weren't nauseated by the food. So you are grateful. -- Paul Theroux
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I wanted something altogether wilder, the clumsier romance of strangeness. -- Paul Theroux
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An aimless joy is a pure joy," I said, quoting Yeats. -- Paul Theroux
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Writing ... is practically the only activity a person can do that is not competitive. -- Paul Theroux
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Airplanes have dulled and desensitized us; we are encumbered, like lovers in a suit of armor. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life -- Paul Theroux
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There has to be a measure of difficulty or problem-solving in travel for it to be worthwhile. -- Paul Theroux
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For years I felt that being respectable meant maintaining a sinister complacency, and the disreputable freedom I sought helped make me a writer. -- Paul Theroux
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Believe me, England's prisons are full of splendid people. -- Paul Theroux
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Men in their late 50s often make very bad decisions. -- Paul Theroux
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My earliest thought, long before I was in high school, was just to go away, get out of my house, get out of my city. I went to Medford High School, but even in grade school and junior high, I fantasized about leaving. -- Paul Theroux
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It might be said that a great unstated reason for travel is to find places that exemplify where one has been happiest. Looking for idealised versions of home-indeed, looking for the perfect memory. -- Paul Theroux
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Most people on earth are poor. Most places are blighted and nothing will stop the blight getting worse. Travel gives you glimpses of the past and the future, your own and other people's. -- Paul Theroux
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If I read enough about one country I sometimes found that the intensity of the reading removed by desire to travel there. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is a vanishing act, a solitary trip down a pinched line of geography to oblivion. -- Paul Theroux
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.. and I began to think that the strictures of Islam would quickly make me a fancier of the margins of anatomy, thrilling at especially trim ankles, seeking a wink behind a veil, or watching for a response in the shoulders of one of those shrouded forms. -- Paul Theroux
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To travel unconnected, away from anyone's gaze or reach, is bliss -- Paul Theroux
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Fogeydom is the last bastion of the bore and reminiscence is its anthem. It is futile to want the old days back, but that doesn't mean one should ignore the lessons of the visitable past. -- Paul Theroux
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A travel book is a book that puts you in the shoes of the traveler, and it's usually a book about having a very bad time; having a miserable time, even better. -- Paul Theroux
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Duffil had that uneasy look of a many who has left his parcels elsewhere,which is also the look of a man who thinks he's being followed. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is about failure or overcoming obstacles, overcoming failures. When a traveler is having lots of good luck, that is not a happy book. That's a book you say, well, I don't need that. I want a life lesson. I want to find out - I want a journey that reflects my life. -- Paul Theroux
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Animal lovers often tend to be misanthropes or loners, and so they transfer their affection to the creature in their control. -- Paul Theroux
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travel [is] flight and pursuit in equal parts. -- Paul Theroux
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Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don't know and trusting them with your life. -- Paul Theroux
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All journeys were return journeys -- Paul Theroux
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Although I'm not fluent in sign language by a long way, I could have a fairly decent conversation. -- Paul Theroux
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Last days? Don't they know? These are the traits of all days, every day, everywhere. -- Paul Theroux
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People who don't read books a lot are threatened by books. -- Paul Theroux
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No one has ever described the place where I have just arrived: this is the emotion that makes me want to travel. It is one of the greatest reasons to go anywhere. -- Paul Theroux
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I want to know the age. The sex. Most of all, the fingerprints. I'd like to identify who it is.
After he had agreed, and I had left the office, walking to calm myself, I thought: And who am I? Please tell me who I am and what I'm doing. -- Paul Theroux
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I know there are writers who feel unhappy with domesticity and who even manufacture domestic turmoil in order to have something to write about. With me, though, the happier I feel, the better I write. -- Paul Theroux
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It's only when you're alone that you realize where you are. You have nothing to fall back on except your own resources. -- Paul Theroux
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Nothing is more satisfying in travel than to land in a place and assume an occupation, even a temporary one, as a teacher. -- Paul Theroux
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The United States is a world unto itself. We have mountains, we have deserts, we have a river that equals the Yangtze River, that equals the Nile. We have the greatest cities in the world - among the greatest cities in the world. -- Paul Theroux
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Death rephrases the life of everyone who's near. -- Paul Theroux
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Many aspects of the writing life have changed since I published my first book, in the 1960s. It is more corporate, more driven by profits and marketing, and generally less congenial - but my day is the same: get out of bed, procrastinate, sit down at my desk, try to write something. -- Paul Theroux
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My love for traveling to islands amounts to a pathological condition known as nesomania, an obsession with islands. This craze seems reasonable to me, because islands are small self-contained worlds that can help us understand larger ones. -- Paul Theroux
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I don't think that it's possible to have a truly rewarding experience in travel if it's simple. -- Paul Theroux
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Reading made me a traveler; travel sent me back to books. -- Paul Theroux
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I never stay with people and I never look people up when I travel. I depend more on just chance meetings. The advantage is that people don't know who I am. I meet people casually and they're not doing me a big favor because I'm going to write something. -- Paul Theroux
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A national crisis, a political convulsion, is an opportunity, a gift to the traveler. Nothing is more revealing of a place to a stranger than trouble. Even if a crisis is incomprehensible, as it usually is, it lends drama to the day and transforms the traveler into an eye witness. -- Paul Theroux
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Africa is really a place for the wealthy traveler. It's got some nice hotels, but they're very expensive hotels. It doesn't really cater to the backpacker or to the overland traveler. -- Paul Theroux
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I think I understand passion. Love is something else. -- Paul Theroux
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I don't look down on tourism. I live in Hawaii where we have 7 million visitors a year. If they weren't there, there would be no economy. So I understand why a tourist economy is necessary. -- Paul Theroux
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No light; but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can never dwell; hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end . . . -- Paul Theroux
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which proved yet again, as I had seen in many lands, that the Bible was often the happy hunting ground of an unbalanced mind. -- Paul Theroux
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Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing. -- Paul Theroux
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Whenever an art form - music, book, drama, song - is dragged into the seminar rooms, it is finished as a force. Nothing is more deadly than the anatomizing of scholarship, since the study of art, any art - even the obscene, semiliterate yawp and grunt of rap - drains the life from it. -- Paul Theroux
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I like the idea of isolation, I like the idea of solitude. You can be connected and have a phone and still be lonely. -- Paul Theroux
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I'm not pessimistic about Africa. The cities just seem big and hopeless. But there's still a great green heart where there's possibility. There's hope in the wilderness. -- Paul Theroux
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Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation
experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way -- Paul Theroux
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On that trip it was my good fortune to be wrong; being mistaken is the essence of the traveler's tale. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel magazines are just one cupcake after another. They're not about travel. The travel magazine is, in fact, about the opposite of travel. It's about having a nice time on a honeymoon, or whatever. -- Paul Theroux
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Ambassador Noyes had another trait I had noticed in many slow-witted people: he was tremendously interested in philosophy. -- Paul Theroux
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And that is all anyone can do, try to be honest about what he feels, what he's seen or thinks he's seen. -- Paul Theroux
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The saddest task for the ironist is having to tell the listener that it's a joke, because of course it is never a joke. -- Paul Theroux
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When I write about my childhood I think, oh my God, how did I ever get from there to here? Not that any great thing has happened to me. But I felt so tiny, so lost. -- Paul Theroux
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One of the grandest creations of the New South was a mythical concept of an Old South. What people take to be an epoch was a matter of mere decades of pretension and an exercise in irrational nostalgia. -- Paul Theroux
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In travel, as in many other experiences in life, once is usually enough. -- Paul Theroux
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The murderous, self-elected, megalomaniacal head of state with the morals of a fruit fly is an obscene feature of African life that is not likely to disappear. -- Paul Theroux
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- and the mocking realization that money was just colorful crumpled paper, hardly different from a candy wrapper, the market itself little more than a casino. -- Paul Theroux
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The people I've known who've done great things of that type - you know, building hospitals, running schools - are very humble people. They give their lives to the project. -- Paul Theroux
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Someone who seems doddery is perhaps not doddery at all but only an older person absorbed in squinting concentration, as though on an ultimate trip, memorizing a scene, grateful for being alive to see it. -- Paul Theroux
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Home is always the impossible subject, multilayered and maddening. -- Paul Theroux
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One thinks one is going to the tropics and one finds oneself in the Chinese version of Welwyn Garden City. -- Paul Theroux
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When I started writing, I did have some idealised notion of my dad as a writer. But I have less and less of a literary rivalry with him as I've gone on. I certainly don't feel I need his approval, although maybe that's because I'm confident that I've got it. -- Paul Theroux
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Tightfisted people are as mean with friendship as they are with cash
suspicious, unbelieving, and incurious. -- Paul Theroux
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The Swahili word safari means journey, it has nothing to do with animals, someone 'on safari' is just away and unobtainable and out of touch. -- Paul Theroux
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What draws me in is that a trip is a leap in the dark. It's like a metaphor for life. You set off from home, and in the classic travel book, you go to an unknown place. You discover a different world, and you discover yourself. -- Paul Theroux
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There are few things more abrasive to the human spirit, even in Patagonia, than someone standing behind you chomping and sucking ice cubes. -- Paul Theroux
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These chicken feet are first quality. You appreciate them? -- Paul Theroux
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I hate vacations. I hate them. I have no fun on them. I get nothing done. People sit and relax, but I don't want to relax. I want to see something. -- Paul Theroux
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Painters paint outdoors, or in rooms full of people; they paint their lovers, alone, naked; they paint and eat; they paint and listen to the radio. It is a soothing way of doing your job. -- Paul Theroux
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Even if I were traveling with you, your trip would not be mine. -- Paul Theroux
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I loathe blogs when I look at them. Blogs look, to me, illiterate. They look hasty, like someone babbling. -- Paul Theroux
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I grew up in an era of thinking of travel as escape. The idea that you could conceivably have a new life, go somewhere, fall in love, have little children under the palm trees. -- Paul Theroux
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It is almost axiomatic that the worst trains take you through magical places. -- Paul Theroux
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There are two places that are hard to write about. A place like Britain, England in particular, which has been written about by everybody, and then the place that's never been written about. -- Paul Theroux
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A person who is tired of London is not necessarily tired of life; it might be that he just can't find a parking place. -- Paul Theroux
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People talk about the pain of writing, but very few people talk about the pleasure and satisfaction. -- Paul Theroux
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The difference between travel writing as fiction is the difference between recording what the eye sees and discovering what the imagination knows. Fiction is pure joy - how sad that I could not reinvent the trip as fiction. -- Paul Theroux
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Sightseeing, an activity that delights the truly idle because it seems so much like scholarship, gawping and eavesdropping on antiquity, flattering oneself with the notion that one is discovering the past when really one is inventing it, using a guidebook as a scenario of swift notations. -- Paul Theroux
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Railways are irresistible bazaars, snaking along perfectly level no matter what the landscape, improving your mood with speed, and never upsetting your drink. -- Paul Theroux
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Mark Twain was a great traveler and he wrote three or four great travel books. I wouldn't say that I'm a travel novelist but rather a novelist who travels - and who uses travel as a background for finding stories of places. -- Paul Theroux
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A society without jaywalkers might indicate a society without artists. -- Paul Theroux
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You leave the States, and you see people have bigger problems than you, much worse problems than you. -- Paul Theroux
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Love doesn't last. -- Paul Theroux
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The appeal of travel books is also the sense that you are different, an outsider, almost like the Robinson Crusoe or Christopher Columbus notion of being the first person in a new place. -- Paul Theroux
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There are places that I've always wanted to go. First I went to Africa, and when I was there I realized there were places in Africa I really to wanted to visit: The Congo, West Africa, Mombassa. I wanted to see the deep, dark, outlandish places. -- Paul Theroux
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If you're a misanthrope you stay at home. There are certain writers who really don't like other people. I'm not like that, I don't think. -- Paul Theroux
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Everyone had an opinion and no one had a solution. -- Paul Theroux
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But, truly, the worst trains take one across the best landscapes. -- Paul Theroux
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The job of the travel writer is to go far and wide, to make voluminous notes, to tell the truth. -- Paul Theroux
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A French traveler with a sore throat is a wonderful thing to behold, but it takes more than tonsillitis to prevent a Frenchman from boasting. -- Paul Theroux
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I wanted the Peace Corps to be something very vague and unorganized, and to a large extent it was. It did not run smoothly. The consequence was that we were left alone. -- Paul Theroux
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Because of my capacity for listening to strangers' tales, or the details of their lives, my patience with their food and their crotchets, my curiosity that borders on nosiness, I am told that anyone traveling with me experiences an unbelievable tedium, and this is why I choose to travel alone. -- Paul Theroux
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Movable type seemed magical to the monks who were illuminating manuscripts and copying texts. Certainly e-books seem magical to me. -- Paul Theroux
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People say writing is really hard. That's very unfair to those who are doing real jobs. People who work in the fields or fix roofs, engineers, or car mechanics. I think lying on your back working under an oily car, that's a job. -- Paul Theroux
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All politicians, even the most idealistic ones, are looking for money, sucking up to rich people. -- Paul Theroux
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A river is an appropriate frontier. Water is neutral and in its impartial winding makes the national boundary look like an act of God. - OPE -- Paul Theroux
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A reader meeting another reader is an encounter of kindred spirits. The pleasure of such a joyous event is impossible to describe to a nonreader, and why would I bother? But you, with this book in your hand, are familiar with the phenomenon, and so it is not necessary. -- Paul Theroux
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I added that it was no fun to grow old, but that the compensation for it was that time turned your mental shit-detector into a highly calibrated instrument. -- Paul Theroux
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I feel as if my mission is to write, to see, to observe, and I feel lazy if I'm not reaching conclusions. I feel stupid. I feel as if I'm wasting my time. -- Paul Theroux
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I should start by saying that traveling in the States is a bit like traveling in Asia. You need it, it helps to have an introduction - that there is a certain network. -- Paul Theroux
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He used the word savages with affection, as if he liked them a little for it. In his nature was a respect for wildness. He saw it as a personal challenge, something that could be put right with an idea or a machine. He felt he had the answer to most problems, if anyone cared to listen. -- Paul Theroux
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The biggest surprise was that a country like Angola, that has so much money, that produces so much oil, would be in such a mess and so difficult to travel in. Something is almost cursed in striking oil. It's like the lottery winner who ends up broke. -- Paul Theroux
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Fiction writing, and the reading of it, and book buying, have always been the activities of a tiny minority of people, even in the most-literate societies. -- Paul Theroux
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I think there is only one way to write fiction - alone, in a room, without interruption or any distraction. -- Paul Theroux
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My record was so bad that I was first rejected by the Peace Corps as a poor risk and possible troublemaker and was accepted as a volunteer only after a great deal of explaining and arguing. -- Paul Theroux
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book of Revelation, -- Paul Theroux
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Loneliness in travel directs you and tells you about yourself. You don't become lonely unless you're alone. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel books are all sorts - some are autobiographies, some are about falling in love. Some are about having great meals, some are about suffering. There are as many different kinds of travel books as there are novels. People think a travel book is one thing. It's many things. -- Paul Theroux
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I cannot make my days longer, so I strive to make them better. -- Paul Theroux
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I always found myself in the company of Australians, who were like a reminder that I'd touched bottom. -- Paul Theroux
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The Colombians are good-tempered people. They are used to waiting for buses that are late, used to riding buses and trains that do not arrive. -- Paul Theroux
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Nothing to me is so erotic as a hotel room, and therefore so penetrated with life and death. -- Paul Theroux
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Less frightening, but no less disgusting, is the Iranian taste for jam made out of carrots. -- Paul Theroux
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Borges, who said, Defeat has a dignity which noisy victory does not deserve. -- Paul Theroux
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I don't want to be the honored guest. I want to be the invisible person. -- Paul Theroux
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As for the sanctimony of people who seem blind to the fact that mass murder is still an annual event, look at Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, Tibet, Burma and elsewhere-the truer shout is not "Never again" but "Again and again. -- Paul Theroux
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Tourists who go to Africa have more of a traditional experience than Africans do. A tourist goes on safari; Africans don't. -- Paul Theroux
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You can't separate the people from the places - although I sometimes like traveling in places where there are no people. -- Paul Theroux
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It is usually expensive and lonely to be principled. -- Paul Theroux
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People see a hungry face, and they want to feed it; that's a natural response. -- Paul Theroux
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You can't want to be a writer. You have to be one. -- Paul Theroux
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Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace. -- Paul Theroux
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If you look at a map, you see that Hawaii is in the middle of nowhere. It's 17 hours of straight flying from London. It's very far away, and sometimes you feel as if you're on another planet. But I like that. Also, that's ideal for writing. -- Paul Theroux
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Delay and dirt are the realities of the most rewarding travel. -- Paul Theroux
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The sad engineer would never go back to England; he would become one of these elderly expatriates who hide out in remote countries, with odd sympathies, a weakness for the local religion, an unreasonable anger, and the kind of total recall that drives curious strangers away. -- Paul Theroux
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One of my fears is not writing. I don't know how to do anything else. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel works best when you're forced to come to terms with the place you're in. -- Paul Theroux
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The measure of civilized behavior is compassion. -- Paul Theroux
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Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us. -- Paul Theroux
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To me, writing is a considered act. It's something which is a great labor of thought and consideration. -- Paul Theroux
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A travel book is about someone who goes somewhere, travels on the ground, sees something and spends quite a lot of time doing it, and has a hard time, and then comes back and writes about it. It's not about inventing. -- Paul Theroux
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The travel impulse is mental and physical curiosity. It's a passion. And I can't understand people who don't want to travel. -- Paul Theroux
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The lust of the eye. The best photographs were, to me, like an experience of drowning. -- Paul Theroux
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The man who is tired of London is tired of looking for a parking space -- Paul Theroux
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A foreign swear-word is practically inoffensive except to the person who has learnt it early in life and knows its social limits. -- Paul Theroux
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He was serene, fulfilled, the real thing, the person no one wants to hear about, a happy man. -- Paul Theroux
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Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going. -- Paul Theroux
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I think people read travel books either because they intend to take that trip, or because they would never take that trip. In a sense, as a writer you are doing the travel for the reader. -- Paul Theroux
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Dentists seem to me very orderly, businesslike people who appear to become somewhat bored with the routine of their work after a period of time. Perhaps I'm wrong. -- Paul Theroux
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I've never spent a whole year in one place without leaving. -- Paul Theroux
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I am happy being what I am. -- Paul Theroux
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The more you write, the more you're capable of writing. -- Paul Theroux
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Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind. -- Paul Theroux
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What I find is that you can do almost anything or go almost anywhere, if you're not in a hurry. -- Paul Theroux
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All solitary travel offers a sort of special license allowing you to be anyone you want to be -- Paul Theroux
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It is the simplest fact of Indian life: there are too many Indians. -- Paul Theroux
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I'm a tourist, a glorified tourist. I'm not doing it to have a good time or to lie in the sun. -- Paul Theroux
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I decided that travel was flight and pursuit in equal parts, -- Paul Theroux
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There's always a way if you're not in a hurry. -- Paul Theroux
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I believe I have a sunny disposition, and am not naturally a grouch. It takes a lot of optimism, after all, to be a traveler. -- Paul Theroux
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One of the cardinal principles of Buddhism, the principle of neglect. -- Paul Theroux
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Listen, stranger; this was myself: this was I. -- Paul Theroux
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The long morning shadows lay as still and dark as lakes and patterned the rough ground with straight margins. -- Paul Theroux
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You travel all over," the woman said. "Do you write about your travels?" I said, Yes, I did. Articles. Books. Whatever. "You must write Paul Theroux-type travel books," she said. I said, Exactly, and told her why. -- Paul Theroux
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Now and then in travel, something unexpected happens that transforms the whole nature of the trip and stays with the traveler. -- Paul Theroux
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I'm constantly running across people who have never heard of books I think they should read. -- Paul Theroux
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A place that doesn't welcome tourists, that's really difficult and off the map, is a place I want to see. -- Paul Theroux
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You can't write about a friend, you can only write about a former friend. -- Paul Theroux
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When I began to make some money, I really wanted to have a home. -- Paul Theroux
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My greatest inspiration is memory. -- Paul Theroux
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All serious travelers arrive at this doubting, why-bother juncture, stalling on the road, sometime or other. -- Paul Theroux
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An island is a fixed and finite piece of geography, and usually the whole place has been carved up and claimed. -- Paul Theroux
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Normal, nice people don't become writers. -- Paul Theroux
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If people are driving you around to look at animals, that's wonderful. That's educational, but it's not necessarily enlightening and you're not finding out much about yourself. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is only glamorous in retrospect. -- Paul Theroux
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There are two worlds: the world of the tourist and the world of everyone else. Often they're side by side. But the tourist doesn't actually see how people live. -- Paul Theroux
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Reading liberates you. You could know about the world through reading. -- Paul Theroux
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It's not fashionable but I like to spit out of the window of a moving train. -- Paul Theroux
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All places, no matter where, no matter what, are worth visiting. -- Paul Theroux
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But art should require no instrument but memory. -- Paul Theroux
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It is fatal to know too much at the outcome: boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his route as to the novelist who is over certain of his plot. -- Paul Theroux
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Travel is an attitude, a state of mind. It is not residence, it is motion. -- Paul Theroux